How To Handle Moderate To Severe Boston Terrier Allergies

How To Handle Moderate To Severe Boston Terrier Allergies

Today we’ll discuss how to handle Boston Terrier allergies head on as we’ve recently gone through the steps with our youngest Boston, Baxter. His allergies were severe and somewhat odd so we felt this would be a good learning experience for all of us, together. Before we jump into Baxter’s situation, let’s go over Boston Terrier allergies on a broad level. If you notice excessive itching, red marks or sneezing in your dog, our recommendation would be to get into your vet as soon as possible. It’s always good to get an exam to make sure that it’s not related to any other illness. When you bring your dog to the vet, you should get a recommendation on one of two things: a blood test or a referral for an allergy specialist.

Things to look for: ear infection, red marks on neck, stomach, arms or legs, or any other red patches on the skin.

boston terrier allergies

In our case, we put Baxter on steroids to help reduce the rash and scheduled an appointment with a specialist. Upon his first visit with the allergy specialist, he was put on some medicine and taken off of the steroids for his allergy test. For the test to work properly, he had to be off of his steroids for thirty days and boy they were rough. He just could not stop scratching so we bought him some wonderful hoodies and he basically never took them off as we waited for the test. In the mean time, we changed our laundry detergent to non-scented, changed his bath soap from normal dog shampoo to dawn antibacterial soap (per our veterinarian) and changed his food to Go! which is good for dogs with allergies.

After a month of waiting, finally, he got his test! He had to be slightly sedated for the test but I was told he was clowning around moments after the sedation wore off, that’s our boy! When I got there to pick him up, I was shocked to see the patch on his side where they did the allergy test.

boston terrier allergy test


We had a long talk with the veterinarian and were given the results, we learned that Boston Terrier allergies and complicated and we were somewhat shocked. Not only is Baxter allergic to some types of grass, weeds and trees (one of which in our backyard), but he’s allergic to human dander! Here’s the list of his allergies, the higher the number the worse the allergy:


For now, we have him on a special serum and three other medications that are working. Our specialist informed us that Boston Terrier allergies are very unique and usually found in the black and white, not the brown. We are washing sheets more, vacuuming daily and we trimmed the trees in the backyard to almost nothing to get anything and everything away from him.

We hope that Baxter’s experience can help you in the future. Allergy tests are expensive but offer real insight into what could be ailing your Boston Terrier. If you need the back story on Baxter’s allergies, you can read it here:

This isn’t a complicated situation but it is important to get the ball rolling quickly. Move quick and do what you can as we saw firsthand how bad Boston Terrier allergies can get.

Do you have an experience with Boston Terrier allergies that you would like to share? Let us know in the comments section!


  1. This is perfectly timed for us as we are taking our 2-year-old B&W Boston, Bruno, for his consultation appointment with the veterinary dermatologist tomorrow. We tried everything for Bruno up to this point – including an inconclusive blood test – and have him on expensive hypoallergenic hydrolyzed food – so we’re hoping the skin test will give us some answers and him some relief. If we had it to do over again, we would have started at the skin test. Thanks for sharing!

  2. My Hamilton has allergies. All conventional OTC meds stopped working on him to get him to a degree of comfort. He was scratching himself bloody at times. So, we saw our local dermatologist (who is amazing!) and she got us on a path to help him within the last couple of months. He responded well to the test and his patch from his test is currently growing back. All of his allergies are environmental and they are in every season which is why he is a mess a lot of the time. I am hopeful that the allergy shots will help him long term. In the short term, we had to put him on Atopica but it has been like night and day for him since starting it.

  3. I have two Boston Terriers. My oldest one, Sully, is a perfectly handsome and healthy boy. My other, Fitz, has been having allergy troubles for about a year. At first the vet thought he might have seasonal allergies, but his symptoms continued and so that was ruled out. Fitz went on a special restricted diet to see if it was food related, but that did not help either. He has been on and off steroids which help, but obviously he cannot be on them long term. He went to the dog allergist last week. He could not have the same as Baxter because Fitz once broke out in hives when he came in contact with a chemical that we had used on some weeds. Because of that the vet said he was “hypersensitive” and that the intradermal allergy test could, although rare, cause anaphylaxis. So he had blood drawn and is having a serum allergy test. We are still waiting for the results. In the meantime he is on antibiotics to clear up the infection caused by all his scratching. He also has a medicated shampoo and a leave on conditioner to help alleviate his symptoms.

    This is not a cheap endeavor, but one look at poor Fitz and I would spend any amount of money to make him feel better. He is such a sweet little guy, happy and playful, but always so itchy. I am hoping the test will give us some answers and an idea of how to make him feel better.

    • Keep us updated! I agree, Baxter has been so sad lately, hoping the serum helps “cure” him somewhat.

  4. I see Bax’s scores high in the grass dept. more so than trees, do you have grass in your yard or is it decorative rocks etc. Allergic to cotton also. wow Reg lays on cotton sheets, bedding etc, glad he has not had bed effects, Good luck in the future with Baxter !!! Thanks for the info !!!

  5. I am glad that you were able to get Baxter tested. My Boston Lelu has 29 allergies and is also allergic to Human Dander. Did they do any food allergy tests on him? I didn’t see them on the list. Lelu is allergic to peas, carrots, veal, white potatoes and corn. I had her blood tested and not the way you did. Praying for Baxter. Glad you were able to finally get some answers.

  6. We have 2 American Toy Fox Terriers, both are itchiong, one is worse than the other. We changed the first ones food to no grain that seemed to work he is itching again this year sametime every year, his feet are red and he’s biting the fur off. And of course itching. We are trying over the counter stuff it seems to be helping, but I’m still not satisifed. as they are both still itching. I do not want them on streiods as that makes them fat.He was on a steriod briefly but when i found out that it was a steriod I took him off of it.

  7. Tropicana Animal Hospital (Las Vegas NV) offers VARL Liquid Gold blood serum allergy testing for food and regional environmental items, it is a simple blood draw and sent to a lab, results arrive in about a week and it’s also less expensive than the skin test (I had food w/extended food panel & environmental panels done about 3yrs ago for less than $300). My Tank is allergic to turkey, duck, eggs, dairy, corn and wheat and his environmental is mostly weeds, highest being the tumbleweed which are all over LV….knowing his food allergies has helped tremendously, his worst food triggers seem to be eggs and turkey, he eats Taste of the Wild salmon and lamb flavors and Grandma Lucy’s freeze dried raw varieties. I’ve been able to reduce his environmental reactions by using a natural supplement called Nupro and feeding coconut oil. He now only has minor flare ups depending on the weather and season compared to scratching himself raw and bloody and he is now able to be treated mostly with OTC antihistamines, we have oral and topical steroids to use on an as needed basics and since his issues are always skin related we prefer to use topical steroids instead of oral if possible, ask about Genesis Spray by Virbac its a prescription and was available from my regular Vet.

  8. Hi everybody! I also have a BT that suffers from severe allergies. He is currently taking Temaril P but we just went last week to his Derm Vet for a checkup and he told me there is a new drug called Apoquel for allergy treatment and does not contain any steroid. He said it just came out last month and the most common side affect is vomitting and diarrhea. My BT was on Atopica for 2 months and that was working great but then he started to throw up and a lot one day so we had to stop giving him it. I am going to try this new drug out but I didn’t want too yet because it just came out last month and wanted to hear how other dogs are doing on it. Just wanted to let you guys know there is a new drug out there and my Derm Vet said it about the same cost as Atopica.

    • Steven,

      Baxter is still on Atopica, Fluconezol and a serum made for his allergies. It’s not working as quickly as we’d hoped but it’s slowly getting better. Good luck!

    • My Hamilton is on Apoquel. It is still in a pre-market phase but some Derm docs have access to a pre-market launch that the owners agree to participate in. And fill out questions online. We are almost one week on to our two week try and see period. It works!!! I also don’t need to worry about long term steroid or immunosuppressant use like with pred or Atopica.

      • That is awesome! I am hoping toget my boy started on it next month!!! I heard that Atopica works better on bigger dogs and thats why it doesn’t always work so greats for Bostons.

        • See my update on Apoquel below… It did not end up working out after all. 🙁

  9. My BT has environmental allergies that cause her to lick her paws excessively. I am going to the vet today to pick up Apoquel. It is brad new, non-steroid, and supposedly with little to no side effects. The vet is very excited about it, and so am I. Hopefully, this will be the solution we’ve been seeking for a long time.

    • My Hamilton was on Apoquel for about six weeks. His Derm doc was part of a group that got a premarket release. I took Hamilton off of it this past weekend due to incredible food aggression he developed. Medically, he was otherwise perfect and the only variable to explain the extreme hunger and food aggression was the Apoquel. We are three days off and I see marked improvement in the aggression but his itching has returned slightly. We continue to look for other solutions.

  10. My Caesar is a Beagle and a Boston Terrier. He had the skin test and had a reaction to all 30 markers they tested for. Atopica didn’t work for him. The only thing that works is the Temaril P but he’s been on it now for a very long time and we are starting to see the side effects, pot belly and skin lesions on his underbelly and back legs. My vet called today and told me about this Apoquel. I’m bring in him in for an exam tomorrow to learn more about it. Any idea how much it costs? Atopica was ridiculously expensive.

    • Apoquel is definitely working for us after two weeks. No side effects so far. Fingers crossed on that. It’s about $2/pill. You give one per day for maintenance (2/day first two weeks).

      • Yup, we started on it.. I was happy that it wasn’t overly expensive. On day 5.. so far so good. we had to wean him off the Temaril so he’s only been off the steroids since Monday. We should know within the next week or so if this will work.

        • So to give everyone an update.. the Apoquel has definitely helped, however once we went down to once a day, he started to scratch again, but it wasn’t as severe. The vet put him on Hydroxyzine in addition to the Apoquel and it seems to be doing the trick! I’m super excited! The long term affects of the Temaril-P had started to progress. Hopefully we can reverse some of the damage 🙂

  11. Adam, what brand of food (wet or dry?) should I be feeding my Boston Dexter? We’ve tryed many different foods.. The foods that he has interest in makes him either throw up or have diarrhea. Foods that he has no interest in, he just won’t eat, his stomach gets upset from not eating and he throws up stomach acid. We are at our wits end. Please, can you give me some advice? Thanks so much!!! Vicki

  12. Thank You So Much!!! I will try it and let you know! Much Appreciated!!

  13. Hi Adam!

    I know this post is about two years old, but I was curious if you had any updates on Baxter’s allergies, or changes to his regimen (with or without success)? Our brown Boston, Oz, is going through seemingly the same scenario and we are at our wit’s end trying to find a solution for the poor guy.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.


    Oz’s Parents

    • Still fighting the good fight. We’ve changed his food and got him on Apoquel but he’s still a little itchy. At this point, our vet says we’ll just manage it instead of beating it. We do have Baxter wear hoodies so he doesn’t tear himself apart, we recommend the Zack and Zoey brand from Amazon. Food is also on Amazon and is best for him we’ve tried yet – Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, 28-Pound Bag

  14. My Boston Terrier keeps itching, his belly, ears, and under his stomach is all red and it keeps bleeding, he won’t stop itching and I don’t know what he could be allergic to

    • My dog haf same problem. Had environment, food and one other test for allergies. He is allergic to 4 out of 5 dust mites, some grass,ragweed, tea tree oul. And a couple of other things. I.make his food ground beef peas and carrots and brown rice. Sometimes other veggies. Vet gave a special bath soap. If he had flare ups. I use hydacortizone. Cream. Clean all the skin then apply. Just have to keep going to vet get medice and keep tbe house clean.

  15. Jen, did your dog come from St. Roberts, Missouri? From a litter of 3? Lelu, Zak and Yoda? If so, I may have Lelu’s brother.

  16. Jenn,
    Not sure if you got first reply. Did Lelu originate out of St. ROberts, Missouri? A litter of 3? Birthdate late November, 2008? If so, I may have Lelu’s brother, Yoda. He is now experiencing some skin issues. Runs in families??

Leave a Reply